Over fourteen hours after the San Francisco Police Department began what they believed was a standoff with a possibly-armed man, the tense situation is over, because the guy wasn't in the house after all.
Police were called to the quiet area of Grafton and Ashton Avenues at around 6:10 p.m. Thursday after a report of a family argument, SFPD spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan says.
According to KTVU, 54-year-old Ed Ellis had shown up at his 81-year-old mother's two-story home to confront her, despite a restraining order she had preventing him from making contact with her.
When the argument escalated, the mother escaped from the home and police were called. Gatpandan says that the SFPD Hostage Negotiation Team, Tactical Company, and Specialists all responded to what they believed was a "critical incident/barricaded suspect."
All night and into the morning, police tried to reach the guy, to no avail. He just wasn't responding. That's because he wasn't actually there!
At around 8:30 this morning, someone let police know that Ellis had left the scene long before the cops had arrived, and was instead was hiding out at his brothers's house, KTVU reports. Police swooped in to his hideout, and by 8:57 Ellis was in custody, Gatpandan says.
Speaking with KRON4, SFPD Captain Curtis Lum knows you might want to make raise an eyebrow at his department for spending so much time outside an empty house. Allow him to explain:
"We have used a lot of resources, but we had to do it for the safety of the people. We didn't want to go in because he was supposedly by himself, he wasn't a danger to anyone else."
"If we had forced out way in and he was in there," Lum says, "something bad might have happened."
Ellis is being held for making threats, resisting arrest, and violating a restraining order.